Sacred Sundays, His Day

What do the youth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think of the Sabbath day?  How do they spend their time on the Sabbath?  Youth from across the world share their ideas in this article.

philippines-youth-interacting-in-sunday-school-1340054-tabletShare your ideas of what the Sabbath means to you and what you do to keep His day holy by commenting on this post.  Also feel free to share this post by clicking on the share buttons at the bottom.

Explore and Endure, Woodbridge Stake YW Camp 2016

By Camille Kerr and Amy Buongiovanni

Girl Camp 2016 Group in TShirts

“Explore and Endure” is exactly what the Woodbridge Stake Young Women did at a new location for Girls Camp 2016: Verdun Adventure Bound in Rixeyville, VA.  From June 27th to July 1st the girls participated in many new and exciting adventures, physically and spiritually.

Some of their first explorations were in setting up their own tents and cooking all their meals outdoors, which were new challenges for most of the girls and many leaders. They also befriended the horses at the camp, learned to ride, and learned to fish.  Verdun offered other fun activities to the girls such as kayaking and swimming in the lake, volleyball, craft activities, and swimming in the pool.


Girls Camp 2016 kayaking

The young women tested their endurance in the challenge course, where they played team building games and helped each other with the zip line and bungee swing.  Tiana Kelley from the Quantico Ward said, ““Girls camp is awesome because all of the girls in the stake come together to help each other and encourage each other no matter who you are.”  And this is exactly what they did in the team building games and the challenge courses.  One of the favorite team building games involved working as a team to get every member across the pretend acid river, by only stepping on the three safe spots.

Girls Camp 2016 Team Building

For part of the challenge course they climbed a very tall pole.  The reward of their endurance and strength at the top of the pole was the thrill of riding the longest zip line in VA!  Another thrilling adventure was the bungee swing where team members pulled together to raise the swinger high in the air.  The swinger then released themselves and soared through the air.   Aleen Gonzalez of the Quantico Ward said, “Girls camp was very fun and was a great opportunity to conquer the challenge course.”

Girls Camp 2016 Challenge Course 2Girls Camp 2016 Swing

Each specific camp level had time with their leaders, passing off the camp requirements such as cooking, first aid, knots, and fire building. They also participated in service projects with their levels and each ward also received the opportunity to entertain by performing skits with their wards.

Girls Cammp 2016 4th Year Adventure

Kim Blair from the Lake Ridge 1st Ward, arranged a special Stake night.  Each ward received a special box in the morning with a beautifully painted Liahona and a scroll. The girls opened the scroll at 7:00 pm that evening and then were directed to three different stations with their wards.  At each station a speaker shared a spiritual message.  At one station they learned about enduring in personal situations and how little achievements are important in our lives.  Another station taught them to explore, specifically how exploring spiritually will strengthen their testimonies.  The last station taught them how Patriarchal blessings can be a personal Liahona.

The final scroll instructed them to meet at the amphitheater.  As the girls arrived there it began pouring rain, which miraculously and thankfully stopped after a ten minute wait.   The young women were then treated to inspiring music from a group of young women who stepped right out of the audience and sang a lovely arrangement of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” while a slide show with pictures of the Savior was presented.

Debbie Roderick, the Woodbridge Stake Young Women’s President, shared some concluding remarks focusing on the spiritual symbolism of the journey they had just taken.  The girls had collected special rocks from each station, which Sister Roderick used to teach them how the Savior can be their rock and foundation.
The spirit of the evening was then enhanced by a traditional Girls Camp nighttime activity called Singing Trees. Each ward chose a tree to stand around, and when it was that ward’s turn to sing, all of the girls and leaders turned their flashlights up towards the tree. When they finished singing, they turned the flashlights off and the next tree lit up as the next ward sang.  Of the many spiritual experiences at camp, one young woman said, “It was so lit…Because of the spirit.”

Of course Bishop’s Night and testimony meeting contained evidence of how the young women endured and explored throughout the week of camp.  So many girls shared their testimonies about how much they had felt the spirit at camp, and about how the challenge course had really helped them grow and accomplish new things.  For example, Faith Oryang from the Quantico ward said, “This year was my favorite year because I got to experience a new camp site, new adventures, and conquer my fears while putting my trust in the Lord, although I was terrified.”  Quite a few girls who were not members of the church stood and shared their feelings as well. The evening was a spiritual highlight of the week of exploring and enduring.


Special Journey for Woodbridge Stake Youth to Historic Kirtland

by Ian M. Houston 
Woodbridge Stake Director of Public Affairs
Youth of the Woodbridge Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter-day Saints journeyed to historic Kirtland, Ohio for Youth Conference the week of July 28-30.
Woodbridge Stake Youth at the Kirtland temple

Woodbridge Stake Youth at the Kirtland Temple

Speaking from inside the Kirtland Temple to the youth on Thursday evening, Woodbridge Stake President Clark Price said, “The Lord wanted each of you here.” Stake First Counselor Val Hilton reflected in his remarks on how inspired it was for the Woodbridge Stake to have made this journey and that it came from inspiration that President Price received. Evening speakers included stake youth leaders and Latter-day Saint author and long-time Ohio resident Karl Ricks Anderson. Brother Anderson brought to light with humor and a deep understanding the unparalleled events and divine manifestations that were given during those early years of church history. Construction on the first Mormon temple was started on June 6, 1833 and the building was dedicated on March 27, 1836. In his dedicatory prayer, President Joseph Smith asked “that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord’s house may feel thy power.” 
Audrey Scott, 17, of the Lake Ridge I Ward said of the trip: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broaden my perceptive on the hardships of the early pioneers.”
Youth Conference 2016
“The stone quarry was a very cool system of engineering and science,” said Dallin Gulick, 14, of the Quantico Ward after the group toured the quarry where marks in the stone can still be seen. The youth also toured sights sacred to Mormon history including the Isaac Morley Farm, the Johnson Home, and the Newel K. and Ann Whitney home and store.
Saturday held a special opportunity for the youth to bear testimony of the experience and express what it meant to them. Many youth mentioned the evening temple experience as particularly moving.
Planning for the Youth Conference commenced over a year ago. The Young Women’s and Young Men’s Stake Leadership spent countless hours refining and revising details. Stake Young Women’s President Debbie Roderick said on the journey home on Saturday evening, “It was amazing to be in Kirtland with the youth and to feel their excitement and awe as we walked where the Prophet Joseph walked and visited rooms where God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ stood.” She added, “they are the future leaders in our church and they are strong!”

Woodbridge Stake Camporee 2016

Story by Patrick Wells

Campers began arriving on the 23rd of March to BSA Camp Snyder.  There was a total of about 60 campers including adults and youth.

The goal of the Camporee was to give the scouters a chance to learn about mass casualty triaging and treatment.  We were fortunate to have some of Prince William Counties experts provide the training.

Training included: Incident Command systems, How to triage, and first aid including treating burns, transporting of the injured, cardio pulmonary resuscitation and open wound care with tourniquets.

camporee 2016 3

Scouts were given a short primer on how to be good victims in preparation for the afternoon events.

Two mock mass casualty events were conducted. Scouts were judged on their use of the morning training and leadership uses of the incident command system.

camporee 2016 2camporee


The night ended with a cooking contest and message from President Price on the importance of the scouting as it helps with missionary preparation and priesthood efforts.

Serve Him With All Your Heart, Might, Mind and Strength

Youth Conference Group Photo“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” (D&C 4:2).

 Three hundred youth from the Woodbridge and Centreville Stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent July 23-25 at Southern Virginia University focusing on missionary service, particularly how to serve with all of their heart, might, mind, and strength.

The Stake Presidents from the Centreville and Woodbridge Stakes and University professors from Southern Virginia University taught classes based on these four key words from the scripture, which is the theme for the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide for 2015.

The Provost of Southern Virginia University, Madison Sowell, and his wife introduced the conference as keynote speakers with powerful stories about their missionary service. Brother Sowell served in the Italy mission and then went back years later to be the Mission President of the same mission. He earned a PhD from Harvard and taught at Brigham Young University for many years before moving to SVU to become Provost.

The youth chose from a variety of classes with catchy titles such as the following:

“Girls vs Guys: What should I know”

“Pause to Help and Lift Another”

“Use Your Head!”

“Recognizing the Spirit and Finding your Faith”

“Navigating the Worldwide Web in the Latter Days”

“I’m lost and I have no clue where I’m going”

“The Book of Mormon- Evidences of Christ”

Returned missionaries from both stakes were counselors for the youth.  They each lead a group of twenty youth and called their groups the names of the missions they had served in as missionaries. Groups with names like Frankfurt, New York, Arizona, Belgium, England, Utah, and Taiwan became unified as they spent a lot of time together, playing get-to-know-you games, attending activities and classes, and participating in a service project.  Leah Gaush, from the Lakeridge 1st Ward, said, “You always meet a lot of new people at youth conference and this year was no different. I made a bunch of new friends at SVU and we grew close through all the activities we did together. There are always great people to meet!”

Quantico Ward Young Men

Jolene Houston, a counselor in the Woodbridge Young Women Stake Presidency, explained that the service project was also based on the missionary theme of “Oh, ye who embark in the service of God.” She said, “The youth wrote letters to missionaries serving from their wards in the mission field, to the missionaries serving in their wards here in Virginia, and to the parents of missionaries serving in their wards. They also brought household items from home like laundry detergent, toothpaste, soaps, etc. to give to the missionaries serving in their wards here in Virginia so those missionaries didn’t have to spend their own money on those things.”
In addition to the service project and the spiritual uplift of classes, various activities such as Bubble Soccer, field games, dances, a variety show and the Hakka dance were in the line-up for the youth’s fun. Marion Watson, from Lakeridge 1st Ward, said, “I really enjoyed getting to know people better within my stake and experiencing Bubble Soccer for the first time ever! It was a blast!” And Hilary Watson, also from Lakeridge 1st Ward, spoke highly of the dances.  “Being able to go to dances with all the people in our stake was such an awesome and fun experience!”

Youth Conference

The Hakka is a Polynesian warrior chant. Phettah Konelia, from the Woodbridge 1st Ward, first taught the chant to all of the counselors who then taught it to the youth.  The youth divided into two groups who faced off and performed the Hakka to each other.

The Variety show showcased eighteen youth acts including such talents as acting, poetry, dancing, singing, piano, violin, cello, and guitar. One particularly amusing highlight of the show was a spoof of “Napolean Dynamite” which both youth and leaders talked of afterward.

Dr. Matthew Rasmussen and his wife Dr. Jessica Rasmussen closed the conference with a powerful talk about using your heart, might, mind, and strength to serve the Lord. Sister Houston explained, “Jessica invited her husband up to arm wrestle her at the podium, which got the kids’ attention! And then she talked about how we all do our most important work when we wrestle within ourselves to follow the will of the Lord and it takes all of our heart, might, mind and strength to win that battle.”

Dr. Matthew Rasmussen taught about keeping all of those four energies in balance so that one doesn’t overpower the others. He shared a story about trying to drive a stick-shift car once without any knowledge or training.  He couldn’t make the car move forward because he didn’t have the right balance between the clutch, gears, and gas.

The youth felt the spirit throughout the whole conference and were uplifted. In turn they strengthened each other. Rachel Pixton, from the Lakeridge 1st Ward said, “There is a spirit there that isn’t anywhere else.”  Faith Oryang shared, “Testimony meeting touched my heart.  I came into Chandler Hall not wanting to bear my testimony, but ended up bearing it, and listening to others which strengthened mine.”

Quantico Ward Young Women

President Price and Ethan Gibson

By Camille Kerr

Writing Specialist on the Woodbridge, Virginia Stake Public Affairs Council for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints